In 2007, The World Ends with You was originally released for the Nintendo DS. This summer, the beloved game is finally getting a sequel 14 years later. In the meantime, we have Subarashiki Kono Sekai (The World Ends with You: The Animation), herein called TWEWY! The anime tells the story of the first game, serving as a refresher for those of us who played it 14 years ago and to bring everyone who never played the original up to speed. It also serves to hype everyone up and remind them about TWEWY before the new game comes out.
Set in modern-day Shibuya, one of Tokyo’s hippest neighbourhoods, TWEWY tells the story of a boy named Neku Sakuraba who is stuck playing the Reaper’s Game. He has to play and survive seven days or face being erased from existence. The big issue is, he can’t remember how he got there, or even who he is. And there’s something very dark about Shibuya; it isn’t exactly the place he knows.
Here are our impressions of the anime so far. Spoilers for the first three episodes of TWEWY are beyond this point!
Pro: True to the Game
One of the most important things that the TWEWY anime had to do was be true to the source material that so many people know and love—and it’s done exactly that. The character designs and music were both iconic parts of what made TWEWY so charming, and the anime kept both of them. It’s also doing a great job of keeping the Shibuya setting alive and updated to the Shibuya of 2021 instead of 2007. In the game, the brand name of equipment affected its stats in certain areas, and the anime often has those original brand names on billboards and in the background as Easter eggs for fans to appreciate.
Pro: The Fight Scenes
The fights in TWEWY: The Animation are really cool! The enemies, called Noise, have translated well into anime with really cool designs. The anime also did not waste time explaining how the characters’ powers work; after all, it’s not a game anymore. That means TWEWY can get straight into the action, delivering flashy fights with cool-looking powers against engaging enemies. The fights are fast-paced, too, so they don’t feel tedious. In a matter of minutes, they are resolved and the plot can continue to move forward.
Pro: Distinct Style
One of the things that won hearts with the original TWEWY was the art style. It’s all about thick lines, interesting fashion, and unique characters—from the heroes to the enemies. Everyone’s fashionable since it’s Shibuya, and even the bad guys look great. TWEWY: The Animation has kept those same bold colours and thick lines which give it a style distinct from most other anime. What made the game successful is helping make the anime successful, too.
Con: Is it Rushed?
TWEWY does feel a little rushed at times. Admittedly, there’s a lot of story from the game to try to fit into a short anime. The original game was dialogue-heavy, too, with a complex story and characters. It’s difficult to get everything into an anime, but it seems like the writers are trying their best to get as much in as they can. That leaves the story feeling a bit rushed at times as the plot flies forward. For people that aren’t familiar with the story from the game, it’s likely confusing at times to keep up with what is going on and who everyone is.
The World Ends with You: The Animation is an ambitious project. Sure, it has plenty of great source material; what it also has is intense fans who love the series and want to see it done right. They want to feel that magic that they felt the first time they played the game 14 years ago. And the anime is doing it’s best to deliver that as much as it can. It’s hard to compare a video game and an anime, but TWEWY is off to a great start. Here’s hoping the rest of the series will stay true to the game for original fans, and bring new people up to speed, too!
Have you been watching TWEWY? How do you feel about it? Did you play the original game? Are you watching this so you can play the sequel this summer? Drop us a comment below!